Outside Magazine Calls Reno Happiest Place to Live in America

For decades, Reno was largely considered a smaller, less glamorous version of Las Vegas. I remember my dad, who lived here when I was born, calling it a “poor man’s Vegas.” But the biggest little city in the world stopped trying to be a mini Vegas years ago—and it shows. The picturesque high desert city, which is situated roughly 20 miles north of Lake Tahoe and about 10 miles east of the California border, was just crowned the happiest U.S. town to live by Outdoor Magazine.

From Divorce Capital to Outdoor Destination Hub

Sure, Reno is still a casino town, and you can enjoy the buffets and spas and 24-hour gaming and big-name entertainment acts if that’s what you’re after. But locals have long taken advantage of the 300 days of sunshine Reno enjoys, along with the virtually endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. We’re close to the highest concentration of ski resorts in the country, multiple lakes and reservoirs, and thousands upon thousands of acres of backcountry. The city has also cultured thriving arts and foodie scenes, and it has a real flair for community events. Annual events like Hot August Nights, Street Vibrations, Artown, the Great Reno Balloon Races, the Off Beat Music Festival, and many others draw thousands from all over the country.

That all sounds great for visitors, but there are incentives to call Reno home, too, like relatively low taxes, no state income tax, and general quality of life. The city has a whitewater park smack dab in the middle of downtown, multiple climbing gyms, tons of bike paths in town (not to mention bike parks), urban art installations, and a relaxed mountain vibe. Outdoor retailers like REI and Patagonia stock all the gear you need for those outdoor adventures. And over the last decade or so, there’s been a concentrated effort to focus on innovation, culture and technology. Amazon, Tesla and Apple have all moved operations to Reno, creating jobs that help retain local University of Nevada grads while drawing others looking for good jobs in the tech industry.

Outdoor Magazine used specific criteria to compile its list of the 15 happiest places to live in the U.S., including:

  • Excellent and ample outdoor access
  • Affordability
  • Safety
  • Diversity
  • Sense of community
  • Better quality of life

Reno really does tick all the boxes. Throw in four distinct seasons, which means beautiful fall colors, just enough snow in the valley during winter to be magical, and sunny spring and summer days, plus good schools, tons of neighborhoods with distinct personalities, and there’s a lot to like. If you’re considering relocating to Reno, I’m happy to answer questions about the area. You know where to find me!

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